By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
San Marino are used to being minnows. The kind of minnows you have to say ‘there are no easy games in international football’ about before going out there and spanking them 7-0. They’ve been tricky underdogs to shake off in the past however, especially if you’re the type of person who switches off World Cup qualifiers between England and San Marino after 8.3 seconds. But they’re at a low ebb, which is somewhat easier to take when you’ve never really had a high ebb. Kind of like what it feels like to be a Liberal Democrat.
The plucky minnows find themselves co-occupiers of the basement spot in FIFA’s Questionable World Rankings system, level with a country whose national sport is archery (Bhutan), behind a country with a population similar to Stowmarket, Suffolk (Anguilla) and perhaps most worryingly, trailing a nation that didn’t exist until about a year and half ago by seven places (South Sudan).
England are expected to stroll it and it’s not that usual brand of ‘we’ll stroll it’ post-colonial arrogance they apply for almost everything they’re involved in. San Marino have only ever won one game of football in their history and their striker sells furniture for a living. As such, the vast majority of the money has been for England, even from people who have seen them play recently. 81 per cent of all match bets have been for the visitors with a speculative 14 per cent of people (presumably from the Scottish/Irish/Welsh dominated parts of the world) plumping for a bet so speculative, it makes chatting up Ellen DeGeneres seem like it’s got a chance of success.
It’s a matter of ‘how much England will win by’ and the short answer is ‘a lot’ based on the Correct Score betting. England to win 4-0 is the most popular bet in the market, but similarly resounding score-lines of England 5-0 and England 6-0 aren’t far behind. Fans who aren’t yet convinced by Roy’s Revolution have ensured less optimistic score-lines of England 1-0 and England 2-0 make the top ten, as is the San Marino 1-0 option presumably fueled by the potential Schadenfreude from the celtic nations.
The money tell us England will come away with from the game with three points and if they play their cards right with the striker, maybe even a nice new kitchen table and chairs combo.